Recent comments

  • Reader Participation Day: What's Your Favorite National Park, and Why?   5 years 43 weeks ago

    My all-time favorites would have to be Zion, Olympic, and Yosemite. Although not quite as grand, several Washington DC area national parks are also on that list including Rock Creek Park; Fort Washington Park; and last but not least, Shenandoah. Oh, and the National Mall can be kinda cool, too :)

  • Reader Participation Day: What's Your Favorite National Park, and Why?   5 years 43 weeks ago

    I'll second Kurt's opinion. Yellowstone is just awesome. A park that you could visit over and over without seeing all of the beauty and hidden spots.
    As a runner up I'll choose Death Valley. Huge, varied and hot!

  • Should the Trains Keep Rolling into Grand Canyon National Park?   5 years 43 weeks ago

    The ticket price can't be made affordable to everyone unless there is some sort of subsidy. The system -- tracks, rolling stock, etc. -- is privately owned and very expensive to maintain.

  • The Oldest Presidential Residence in the U.S. Reopens to the Public. Where it is?   5 years 43 weeks ago

    Is the Deshler-Morris house said to be haunted?

  • Know When to Say When – Stranded Visitor Rescued from Tiny Ledge at Yosemite National Park   5 years 43 weeks ago

    When you use tax dollars to fund rescue operations you have to rescue the idiots and the others without favor. "Can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen".

  • No Fishing with Hand Grenades in Afghanistan’s New National Park   5 years 43 weeks ago

    Thanks for your comprehensive summary of the park at Band-e-Amir. Just a note to clarify - right now it is NOT recommended for anyone to drive to Band-e-Amir. There have been attacks recently on that road. The main option is to fly to Bamyan or Yakolan and drive a couple hours from there. However, driving is a better option as far as seeing the gorgeous country and experiencing driving in Afghanistan. We will be posting pictures shortly showing some of the fun http://www.about-afghanistan.com/band-e-amir.html

  • Know When to Say When – Stranded Visitor Rescued from Tiny Ledge at Yosemite National Park   5 years 43 weeks ago

    How many of the critics crying "idiot" are climbers? Yosemite is the cradle of American rock climbing. There is a long tradition of the sport in Yosemite. Like some other sports, confidence is everything in rock climbing. When you are confident in your abilities, you can make amazing moves. Once that confidence is shaken, such as by sustaining the two "minor" falls mentioned in the article, you're paralyzed. That he survived those falls indicates he had protection in place. That he reached a location 800 feet above the valley floor also indicates that he was an experienced climber.

    Obviously, this climber erred in climbing beyond his abilities, hence his need to request rescue. Maybe he was an idiot. But I don't think anyone can make that call based on just what is in the article on this site.

  • Free Digital Photo Workshops at Grand Canyon National Park   5 years 43 weeks ago

    Grand canyon is truly captivating.Many people would really want to capture and take pictures so that they will have memories of the visit.Learning how to take pictures properly will help them a lot. I guess it's truly a nice experience!

  • "River Runners for Wilderness" Lose Bid to See Motorized Rafts, Helicopters Banned from Colorado River Corridor in Grand Canyon   5 years 43 weeks ago

    I have had the privilage of running motorboats in Grand Canyon for 6 years. Over the years I have had the opportunity to take so many different people into the bottom of Grand Canyon, including people with disabilities and elderly. My 80 year old grandpa was able to join me on a trip recently and it was a huge moment in his life. I work for a company that is currently pouring money into battery powered outboard engines , along with several other outfitters, resulting in a sucessful test run this spring. In the meantime we are using super low emission 4 stroke outboards. We truely keep Grand Canyon open to the public in a way that oars alone couldn't. I am proud of our efforts towards better technologies and educating our clients about how to enjoy the place with the least impact. The commercial guides work harder than anyone else at keeping the river corridor free from trash, multiple trails, and invasive species. We are not the problem, and the outboards are not the problem. I would like to see a real environmental impact statement regarding the river corridor post dam.

  • "River Runners for Wilderness" Lose Bid to See Motorized Rafts, Helicopters Banned from Colorado River Corridor in Grand Canyon   5 years 43 weeks ago

    Isn't a lot of the helicopter use and some of the motorized rafting done by the NPS and other government agencies? Anybody know roughly what percent is management and research?

  • Are Our National Parks No Longer for the People?   5 years 43 weeks ago

    Kurt writes "we as a society have to reach some consensus over is how we want the National Park System managed, and not just for today but for tomorrow."

    I believe we already have a process for doing so. Each Park is charged with preparing a General Management Plan, which takes several years and very extensive public input, both in meetings and in writing. The GMP is a consensus document.

    Alas, that does not prevent special interest groups from filing lawsuits when the GMP is implemented. Here at Olympic NP, one group has advocated closure of 8 of the Park's 11 entrances, and vows to file suit if one entrance (Dosewallips) is not closed permanently. Despite a 71% drop in backcountry visitation since it washed out.

    Loss of access = loss in visitation.

  • Are Our National Parks No Longer for the People?   5 years 43 weeks ago

    From many of the comments in this thread, so far, I can readily detect an undertone of undisguised disdain for visitors and their ribald stupidities. It would seem that the very idea of developing these parks and paving massive roads into their sensitive underbellies, just so that Boobus Americanus can mindlessly gawk, litter and generally foul things up, was a bad idea to begin with.

    I stand by my observation that more and more rangers in the NPS these days tend to tolerate visitors but DO NOT see the mass enjoyment of these places as the real reason that the parks were created. The emerging consensus is that they are cordoned zones of preservation that need protection from humans and the degrading effects of their presence.

  • Are Our National Parks No Longer for the People?   5 years 43 weeks ago

    I am a newcomer to this forum but feel compelled to address this thread. I was certainly not a person in an elevated position or posture. I came to the USNPS from the oil fields of southeastern New Mexico and West Texas. In my experience starting out as a GS-5 subject to furlough I found the average NPS employee to be well read, strong of spirit, willing to go the extra mile for people in need, to risk their lives, sometimes on a daily basis, to rescue others and to serve well the great National Park System and the people to whom that system belongs. Certainly in any field of endeavor there are people who are less than stellar examples of the human race but to use those people as examples of the entire culture is to diminish yourself and everyone else. As Bob Dylan once pointed out in a song: there will always be people “who see themselves walking around with nobody else" and he adds “if you'll let me be in your dream, I'll let you be in mine”, which what I believe the great majority of NPS employees do, let people be in the great dream of the Parks, Monuments and all the other areas for which they are responsible.
    (I have taken some liberties with the Dylan quote from “Talkin’ World War Three Blues”)

  • Should the Trains Keep Rolling into Grand Canyon National Park?   5 years 43 weeks ago

    Please keep the trains from Williams! They are fun, educational, and for many people with limited time, the only way to see the Canyon.
    However the cost should me modified. For a family, they are really too expensive for just a day trip. Children and grandchildren should have
    the opportunity to ride a train and experience a little of the old west.

  • "River Runners for Wilderness" Lose Bid to See Motorized Rafts, Helicopters Banned from Colorado River Corridor in Grand Canyon   5 years 43 weeks ago

    The key work here is MOTORIZED. The more we can keep snowmobiles, helicopters and motorized watercraft out of our National Parks the better.

  • Are Our National Parks No Longer for the People?   5 years 43 weeks ago

    MikeD said: "That said - although we live in a democracy, it is the job of our government to specialize in managing our resources."

    Please refer me to the part in the Constitution that uses the word "democracy" and the specific parts that grant the federal government the power "to specialize in managing our resources."

    RangerLady said: "But I've also noticed no matter where I go, customer service is lacking entirely in the younger people. What happened between my generation and this one?"

    Yeah, I know what you mean. I'm managing two 21-year-old "women" in a nature center, and my god, they just are totally clueless and lacking customer service skills, content knowledge, and are devoid of a work ethic. Something has shifted. The blame goes to whom or what? Public schools? Parents? Technology? Who knows? But they're infiltrating national parks and becoming managers. Professionals cannot afford to work for the NPS, and many are unwilling to tolerate the unfair hiring practices and bureaucracy. So it's unskilled labor they'll continue to hire.

    Rick Smith said: "But, I still believe that what you report is a tiny minority of the tens of thousands of visitor contacts that occur every day across the System."

    Rick, we must have worked in different times. Perhaps it's what RangerLady noticed: it's the dern kids! I donno. Did you never have law enforcement roommates who left their 9mms laying about? Or barf on the wall of your shack seasonal housing and never clean it? You never overheard fee rangers talk about how they hired someone because she sounded hot on the phone? Just seems like my experiences with the NPS are from Mars and yours are from Venus.

  • Know When to Say When – Stranded Visitor Rescued from Tiny Ledge at Yosemite National Park   5 years 43 weeks ago

    I think that perhaps the guy is an idiot but it is the job of the ran[g]ers to do these rescues.

    I agree with this. While it is tempting to sound like others who say "leave him," as human beings we have the duty to save human life whenever we can. No matter how dumb it may be.
    If they just wanted a job whe[r]e they sat at a desk all day then they wouldn't have chosen to be rangers. So give it up for the heroes.

    Another good thought. The guys who do these jobs know the risks. They take them for the reason stated above and, gee, it must feel good to be a hero.

  • Creature Feature: Burmese Pythons Prowl the Everglades, and That’s Not a Good Thing   5 years 43 weeks ago

    There are very few cases of "newcomers" that aren't "badcomers." I can't think of one. The main problem with the pythons is that they are on the top of the ecosystem and have almost no natural predators. They won't stop reproducing until they run out of food. Also, the pythons can live along the coastal zone as far north as Maryland, and south down the Eastern Seaboard, all the way through the Gulf to most of Texas.

  • "River Runners for Wilderness" Lose Bid to See Motorized Rafts, Helicopters Banned from Colorado River Corridor in Grand Canyon   5 years 43 weeks ago

    I should think allowing the motorized rafts makes it feasible for inexperienced people to enjoy their National Park river. People who want to use their muscle, do so; but give others their right to ride the river by motor. Its not like its a pristine waterway, after coming through Lake Powell with all kinds of watercraft on it, and going into Lake Mead, so I don't really get the drift here (excuse the unintentional pun). However, I must admit I am not a "waterway" person, so I am sure there is someone out there somewhere who can set me straight.

  • Thelma & Louise Redux? Man Drives Car Off South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park   5 years 43 weeks ago

    This man has been identified. NPS report below:

    The body of a man who drove his car over the edge of the Grand Canyon last week has been identified as that of Gheorghe Chiriac of Apple Valley, California. Park dispatch received numerous reports that a car had been driven over the edge near the El Tovar Hotel on the South Rim around 6 a.m. on Monday, July 13th. Upon arriving at the scene, rangers found tire tracks indicating that a car had been driven up onto the curb of the loading area between the El Tovar Hotel and the Kachina Lodge. The car then veered left, traveling through the grass behind Kachina Lodge until it reached the Thunderbird Lodge, where it veered right and into the canyon. As the car had traveled a significant distance from the regular roadway, there was no wall or barrier where it went over the edge. Rescue personnel descended on ropes and located the vehicle approximately 600 feet below the rim. The man’s body was found shortly thereafter. After the scene was documented, the body was transported to the rim by helicopter via long-line operation and then picked up by the Coconino County medical examiner. The body has now been identified as that of 57-year-old Gheorghe Chiriac, who emigrated from Romania approximately 30 years ago. His death has been ruled a suicide.

    Ranger Holly
    http://web.me.com/hollyberry

  • Survey Results Label the French as the World’s Worst Tourists   5 years 43 weeks ago

    Most Europeans are bad tippers because they do not understand our system. From what I've been told, their waitstaff are paid better and the gratuity is automatically included in the final bill. Some park concessionaries will include 15% on the bills automatically during periods of high European visitation because of this.

    Ranger Holly
    http://web.me.com/hollyberry

  • Are Our National Parks No Longer for the People?   5 years 43 weeks ago

    Frank C--

    My "elevated status" with the NPS started with ll seasons as a seasonal ranger in Yellowstone. So, I was not quite as elevated as you infer that I was.

    I am sure that on some days, I wondered about the stupidity of park visitors or became fed up with their throwing litter or harrassing wildlife. I think that is probably the nature of public service. But, most park employees I know put those thoughts away when dealing with the very next visitor. I worked in some highly visited parks--Yellowstone, Yosemite, Everglades, Grand Canyon, Carlsbad Caverns, and Guadalupe Mountains. There were very few times that I saw an interaction between a park employee and a visitor that did not represent what I would call high quality visitor service. Again, that number of parks is miniscule compared to the 391 park areas in the System. So, you may have seen something different. But, I still believe that what you report is a tiny minority of the tens of thousands of visitor contacts that occur every day across the System.

    Rick Smith

  • Are Our National Parks No Longer for the People?   5 years 43 weeks ago

    "....She just kept right on talking to her friend about her latest sexual conquest. ....."
    Ohhh! Details. Details!!
    The ranger I dealt with was not a kid, nor is Yellowstone a "starter park"; it just illustrates that anyone can get frustrated and have a bad day.
    "What happened between my generation and this one?" I remember asking my dad what was wrong with todays kids before he passed a few years ago. He was in his eighties at the time. His response was, "Maybe it's not today's kids who have changed; maybe it's today's parents!" Interesting.

  • Know When to Say When – Stranded Visitor Rescued from Tiny Ledge at Yosemite National Park   5 years 43 weeks ago

    I think that perhaps the guy is an idiot but it is the job of the raners to do these rescues. Just like an idiot that has a grease fire and looses his house because he just keeps throwing water... it is a firefighters job to come rescue him. They train for this and it may be dangerous but its why they do what they do. If they just wanted a job whee they sat at a desk all day then they wouldn't have choosen to be rangers.
    So give it up for the heroes. Sing there praise and let the man be ... they all will have something to talk about for weeks to come now.

  • Dining At The Parks: Mesa Verde National Park's Chef Ensures The Southwest Flows Through his Dishes   5 years 43 weeks ago

    MB, there is a book that's for sale in NPS bookstores (I know for sure that Death Valley sells it) that has several recipies from the famous park lodges. I think Mesa Verde is in there as well, but I haven't looked at it for awhile. Elk and quail meat isn't easy to come by when you don't hunt!

    Ranger Holly
    http://web.me.com/hollyberry